|2011-12 Team Rating|
|13th Overall||6th Overall|
Stats through Feb. 16
Josh Smith is fitter, mentally and physically. He was a borderline All-Star. Marvin Williams will often pull a surprise but, at 10 points per game, is below-par for a starting small forward.
Joe Johnson is an All-Star once again, which almost makes you think he's worth his enormous contract. Jeff Teague brings stability to a troublesome position for Atlanta; is he a true point guard? Still not sure.
The Hawks are among the leaders in fewest points allowed because Joe Johnson is vastly underrated as a man-to-man defender and Josh Smith always brings the crowd-pleasing block.
Rick Sund did a solid job by adding important and inexpensive pieces to minimize the loss of Jamal Crawford. Take a bow, Tracy McGrady, Ivan Johnson, Willie Green, Kirk Hinrich.
Larry Drew has been on quite a roll since last year's playoffs, when he beat Orlando, drew blood from Chicago and is now getting by without Al Horford. All better than expected.
The Hawks have too much talent to sink toward the bottom, and in the weak East, they've even managed to survive without Al Horford, who had shoulder surgery in January. It says plenty about Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Jeff Teague, the trio mainly responsible for keeping this team competitive and charged. The Hawks could've packed it in but found a way to keep themselves squarely in the hunt for a middle seed in the playoffs.
This remains, however, a team that at best can reach the conference semis. They have too many flaws preventing them to go much further. Johnson dominates the ball far too much and doesn't trust his teammates in crunch time. Also, you wonder how effective Horford will be if, as expected, he returns in time for the postseason. The Hawks have a crying need for help at center but management is unwilling to pay the luxury tax for a team that still can't pack the place at home.
-- Shaun Powell
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||C-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||B|
|Los Angeles Lakers||B-|
|New Jersey Nets||D|
|New Orleans Hornets||F|
|New York Knicks||C+|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B-|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|